Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Frank Neal's Fan Club Page

Frank working the Lunch Stop in Ventucopa on the Heartbreak Double Century in May, 2015

The California Triple Crown family lost a really good friend with the recent passing of Frank Neal.

Affectionately known as the California Triple Crown Data Guy, Frank started to help the California Triple Crown as the Comeback Guy to showcase cyclists who were battling back from crashes and health problems. He continued to do this for many years ... and he was so amazed at how so many cyclists were able to reinvent their lives after a catastrophe. Frank then became instrumental by posting thousands of ride completions to the California Triple Crown Database. He worked tirelessly with Chuck Bramwell to make sure every cyclist was given the credit that they worked so hard in earning.

This is a place where people who loved Frank Neal may feel free to write a memory they have of him, a story, or to say goodbye to a good friend.  Please share your thoughts by clicking on the "Comments" at the bottom of the tribute below. You need not be a cyclist to share a memory here.  Please e-mail any photos of Frank that you'd like to share to Chuck Bramwell at cbrams@caltriplecrown.com and he'll post them here.

It was Frank's desire to not have a service of any kind.  But that doesn't mean we can't remember him here and pay tribute to a great man who gave back so much to cycling in California.  Please share your memories here.

Frank and Mike Curren at the California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast in 2012.

"The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience,
We're spiritual beings having a human experience"
Susan Saint James who lost her 14 year old son in a plane crash

In 1999, Frank completed the 750 Mile Paris-Brest-Paris
Frank, Chuck Bramwell, and Doug Patterson are getting registered for the event here.

As shown HERE, Frank was an amazing cyclist and completed 60 Double Centuries from 1995 to 2006!!  In 2007, he started to really give back to our long distance cycling sport by helping support the Double Centuries in California.  From 2003 to 2016, he supported an incredible 87 Double Centuries!!

Frank was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame for completing 50 Double Centuries or 10,000 Miles of Double Centuries in 2004.  The following is from his induction into the Hall of Fame:

Prior to 1992, this next person was a serious tennis player.  Then, he tore a rotator cuff which ended that … he was gaining weight and needed another outlet.  He then discovered cycling.  

He started seriously riding seriously in 1992 when his friends talked him into a 3-day bike tour.  He immediately got hooked on cycle touring.  His first Century was in November 1992 with a Century in Death Valley while he was on a tour.  He had never ridden on such terrible roads causing him to swear that he would never ride in Death Valley again.  Of course, 12 years later, he has now completed 8 Death Valley Double Centuries!!

This man’s first Double Century was the 1995 Tour of the Canyons.  It was a long, hot day.  He learned a lesson that would carry him through the Death Valley "Hurricane" Double the following year and has been his Motto ever since:  "Every ride is a new adventure.  Just keep the pedals turning!"

His best long distance ride was the 1999 Paris-Brest-Paris that he rode with his friend, Doug Patterson.  He received such great support from spectators during the entire ride and met so many great people.  The feeling of accomplishment crossing the Finish Line after 773 miles was indescribable!  

This extremely persistent rider has finished every Double Century that he’s started!!  He has finished 52 Doubles without a DNF.  Even after being crunched by a careless motorist in Nov. 2000 and spending 10 days in the hospital, this cyclist just keeps going!

He’s never really had a worst experience but recalls the 1996 Death Valley “Hurricane” Double as being truly terrible.  He didn't much like riding in the blowing sand.  But, it taught him to not fear the wind.  In the 60 miles of 40+ mph headwinds, he yelled to the wind: “Is that ALL you've GOT!  You've got nothing!  You've got NOTHING!"  There was a high DNF rate that day, but he finished.

This person keeps meticulous records and found that since he started riding in 1992, his average ride length for ALL rides which includes short training rides with nubees and Mountain Bike rides is an astonishing 69.3 miles.

His 3 Strongest riding attributes are:
1  He always keep the pedals turning.
2  He’s patient and can carry anyone through a ride.
3  He loves to ride!
His ideas on nutrition are that everybody is different.  Eat what works for you.  He has to take a ton of calcium and some extra potassium to prevent cramping.  He starts by drinking a Boost or Ensure before each ride.  Most Important is that at the last Checkpoint, he seeks out a Coke or a Mountain Dew to power him to the finish!

He does have a requirement on the Monday after a Double: an In-N-Out Burger!!!

While riding during Double Season, he has only have one "training" rule: If I start to sweat, I'm working too hard and I need to gear down and slow down.  Riding is to enjoy.  It just never seems like work for me.

This cyclist loves the Eastern Sierra Double which he has completed 5 times and the Ride Around the Bear Century which he has completed 8 times because of their long, easy, and steady climbs.  You get in a  good groove, with a steady cadence, and after that it's pretty much all pleasure!

While riding, this person is usually either talking to someone, or looking around enjoying the scenery.  Riding clears his mind and clarifies his thinking.  He comes up with solutions to personal issues while on the bike so finds his bike his "low paid" therapist!

This 53 year old Buyer Manager in the Retail Grocery Industry holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology from Cal Poly Pomona.  His personal philosophy is:  Every Ride is a new adventure.  Embrace the diversity.  Prepare for the worst and enjoy the Best!  Just keep the pedals turning.

Always remember, you can lose all of this in less than the blink of an eye!  Each day; love your Family and enjoy the sport!

At the end of the ABC Coverage of the 1989 Tour de France, Greg Le Mond lifts his 5 year old son up to the Winner's Block as the announcer says:

Comebacks are always a part of the fascination with sports
From so far down, to so high up
How does it happen?

Like so many things, it begins with the most simple belief
The one you must have in yourself
That must be translated into results by dedication
The knowledge that dedication which feeds on belief can make it so

This person has had to overcome a whole lot more than most any of us can imagine.   Disaster struck while he was on a ride on Thanksgiving morning in 2000 when a careless motorist nearly ended his life.  He ended up with broken vertebra, broken ribs, collapsed lung requiring three chest tubes, bruised heart, bruised spleen, paralyzed intestines, concussion, sprained neck, lost front teeth, bruises on most of his body, and a broken finger.  He made an amazing comeback from that tragedy.

About a year later in December 2001, he crashed and dislocated his hip making 2002 a most difficult year. 

His real Comeback was in 2003 with 10 Doubles, including Devil Mountain Double, the Grand Tour Highland Triple and he was recognized as the Orange County Wheelmen  Member of the Year.  This was amazing … this person basically came back to life in a very, very big way.

He writes with new meaning: “Finishing Doubles is a gift; I'm just glad to be riding, again! :-)”

He’s had some great and wild experiences in cycling.  On the Eastern Sierra in 1999, He forgot his bike shoes, but instead of giving up, he rode and finished the 200 Miles in floppy tennis shoes on platform pedals thanks to Lee Mitchell’s endless inventory of spare parts in the back of his van!!

Frank wrote: "Eastern Sierra, 1999.  In Bishop, I got up on the morning of the Ride to find that I had not packed my bike shoes.  I didn't know what to do, so I started the ride with SPD pedals and tennis shoes.  I would figure something out once I got on the road.  My tennis shoes kept slipping off the pedals.  I considered taping my shoes to the pedals.  ESD doesn't require too many stops.  But, I rejected that idea.  At ESD, the Start is a 25-mile loop out of Bishop and back, then it heads toward the first climb up Sherwin Grade.  Passing by Bishop, I had to make a decision.  My toes were already cramping.  I was, by far, the last rider .  I decided to stop and wait for a SAG.  Lee Mitchell showed up.  I said, "Lee, you need to give me a ride."  He looked at me in astonishment and said, "You!  You never quit!".  I replied, "Lee look at my feet."  He said, "Oh, you do have a problem."  He got out of his van and began to pace while stroking his beard.  Finally, he looked at me and said, "You know, I think I have an old pair of platform pedals in the back of the van.  Do you want to give them a try?"  I lit up, "Oh, yeah!"  Lee installed the platform pedals and I finished ESD in my tennis shoes and platform pedals.  And, I didn't finish last.  PS.  My feet hurt for two weeks afterward!"

On Paris-Brest-Paris in 1999, he rode three days with little sleep.  On the third morning, he spent 40 minutes riding and recording in his microcassette recorder without any recollection to this day.  The tape includes his remark: “It must have rained before we got here, because the peasants have their wet work gloves on."  But Doug later said this was in the dark and there were no peasants around anywhere.  He believes he spent 40 minutes "sleep riding and sleep recording"!   He surely knows how keep the pedals turning even when he’s asleep!!

It was an incredible honor for Chuck Bramwell to induct Frank Neil, the California Triple Crown Comeback Guy, into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Frank was on the support team for Team Skipper, a 8 Tandem Team in the 2011 Race Across America as shown HERE.

Frank helped with the finish line at the Grand Tour for many years.  Here he is shown checking riders in at the finish of the 2008 Grand Tour.  This job is a long and difficult one because riders arrive from 4pm to 4am the following day!!

Frank was so helpful on the Breathless Agony Bike Ride ... helping to fix bikes and to lead a critical Water Stop every year!!

Frank completed the brutally hard Breathless Agony course in 2004!!
Frank rides a 1991 Bridgestone RBT touring bike.  He bought it at a markdown sale in 1992 from Mike Perone's bike shop.  Mike is now a California Triple Crown Winner himself and had no idea what he was starting when he sold Frank that heavy Bridgestone bike with a kickstand!!

  Frank would often help with the Mulholland Challenge and Double Century.  Here he is working the Decker Rest Stop with Ira Kucheck on the 2009 Mulholland Challenge and Double Century.

Frank was often seen helping cyclists with mechanical problems while on long bike rides.  Here he is seen on the Knoxville Fall Classic Double Century in September, 2013 and 2014

Frank helped a lot of cyclists on the 2013 Bass Lake Powerhouse Double

Frank and his buddy, Mark Kaufman, had a blast touring the 
Battleship Iowa in August, 2016

Karen Thompson captured this great video of Frank 
at the Mines Road Water Stop
 on the 2016 Devil Mountain Double at


Jack said...

I am saddened to learn of our loss of Our Chief Supporter. I never had the pleasure of riding with Frank even though our riding days overlapped a bit. It was only after he retired from riding Doubles that I got to know Frank. Once we finally met we had a number of enjoyable conversations after rides and I frequently saw him during rides out there supporting us in multiple capacities. He was everywhere and always there during rides. Unfortunately he only comes in second in this capacity and that is podium finish that is nothing to be ashamed about - Lee Mitchell had to resort to superhuman methods to snag this title while Frank is a close second never having to rely on anything beyond the more traditional human methods.

While many of us support Double Centuries as best we can during our active riding careers, both of these fine gentlemen have laid out a road map for all of to use when we approach that day when we make the decision to retire from riding Double Centuries. We do not have to try to emulate either of these approaches, but there is a abroad range of sage advice that can guide each of us as we make the transition from active rider to redefining our new roles as solely giving back to the community. I know I am much closer to that decision day than I used to be. This body of wisdom will make that day easier for me and hopefully for the rest of you to make a difficult decision that many before us have had to make in years past.

Reading about Frank's comeback from adversity to continue riding inspires me as I begin down the road with my own comeback.

While Chuck may be the public face of California Triple Crown, Frank had assumed the role of the more private face of California Triple Crown, in his mild mannered way.

We have all lost a friend, a supporter, true gentleman, and a fine human being. May our shared memories of Frank inspire all of us to greater levels in all aspects of our lives.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jack, for your most thoughtful and extremely well written note here. Frank was indeed a friend, a supporter, a true gentleman, and a fine human being. I will miss him greatly.

Chuck Bramwell

Russell Cammell said...

Frank was such a giving friend to our cycling sport. I am so sad to hear he has passed.
On Doubles I always knew I would see him somewhere, probably before the ride, and always on the course, so I looked forward to stopping a few minutes when he was at a rest stop or along the way and chatting with him. If anyone had mechanical troubles or needed fixit parts I would always tell them "Look for Frank, he will have what you need". I rode PBP last year so I went to Frank and Chuck for advice before it, which gave me some good insight to what it would be like for me. I also communicated with him for mentor advice.
We all owe such gratitude for all the countless hours of support he devoted to the Triple Crown. We all miss you very much Frank for being such a humble selfless person. God Bless you my friend ! Russell Cammell

William Murphy said...

I've known Frank for a LONG time. Whenever I had a question about ANYTHING dealing with riding, Frank was the 1st person I would ask. If he didn't know the answer, then you should not have asked the question. On a personal note, he was immense help to me as far as being a caregiver for my parents. His insight and wisdom on this subject helped me get through a lot of tough times. I know we all meet our maker at sometime, but Frank was much too young to meet his. I will miss our conversations about bicycling, life, love, and the whole shebang. When I do meet my maker, at least Frank will be there at the starting gate, ready to advise me on how to proceed. Take care, my friend

Melanie Patterson said...

As a riders spouse I knew Frank as a great supporter of the family of riders. I first met him as Doug and Frank were readying for Paris. He and Garfield the cat were ready. We spent hours looking at his pictures after the ride. Frank was a great photographer. He definitely enjoyed the ride. Two years ago when Frank heard about Dougs cancer, he left his house at 5:30 am to get to the hospital in time to sit with me during Dougs surgery. Frank was a great rider, and never-ending supporter, and a ferocious friend. Thank you Frank for every memory. Rest in Peace my friend. Melanie

Tim Sullivan said...

I am saddened to learn of Franlk's death. Frank was a mainstay of the Triple Crown community. Whether providing sag suport, serving us at a lunch, or greeting us at the finish it was always good to see Frank. As a tireless volunteer Frank was always a gentle man and it was enjoyable seeing him. Frank you will be missed.

Tim Sullivan

Len said...

He was an inspiration, especially with all his volunteering in the last few years. I talked to him numerous times: How do you get out of this doubles thing? His answer: volunteer, it is just as much fun and you don't need the training any more!

Charles Griffice said...

I agree so much with all that has been said already. What a shock and Frank was such a great guy. On the bike he was careful and went his own retro way with kickstand and all. There are many memories to share, but I best remember riding with him on a training ride and while he was explaining some of the details of his terrible car crash event... and then I flatted and we had to interrupt the conversation at a bad time. He gave me more information later as we talked on most rides when he went to an all-volunteer status.. I will always remember him being at the first ride of the year each year and talking about plans for the year. He wanted latest data on everything – altitude gain of rides, distances, etc. He also gave me advice concerning what to carry if I was a SAG driver based upon his years’ of experience and his intimate knowledge of what Lee carried…just about everything. Many of us of his generation probably wonder a bit about how easy it will be easy to find another replacement as good as Frank...Charlie

Chuck Bramwell said...

Russell, you are so right. Like you, whenever I come across a rider with a mechanical problem on a ride, I also would tell them to seek out Frank Neal because he could fix just about anything. Frank told me once that he would later take bike problems to his local bike shop and step by step, he learned how to fix problem after problem until he was able to solve so many problems for so many cyclists in the middle of nowhere!! Frank was so helpful to so many ... including myself.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Bill, that is so cool that Frank helped you in being a caregiver to your parents. He loved his Dad and was a great example to all of us. Frank was indeed too young to pass away. Each day is a blessing and a gift.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Melanie, that is a beautiful tribute to Frank. Frank was a great photographer ... and he always liked to tell me that my lousy photos made him dizzy to look at!! :)

Paris-Brest-Paris was the ride of his life ... and the ride of my life. We talked about it often ... small memories that still linger.

He thought the world of you and Doug.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Tim, you are so right ... Frank was everywhere on the rides. On the Camino Real Double, he would be there at Registration Friday night then on the ride, he would drive SAG, help organize and work Lunch while fixing bike problems on the side, then he would drive SAG until late at night. He was everywhere and he will be sorely missed.

On the California Triple Crown, Frank would send me many e-mails during the week as we would work through so many questions that came up. He was meticulous and one in a million for the California Triple Crown.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Frank was a great example of reinventing himself on these bike rides by supporting them long after he could no longer ride them. Thank you for this reminder of Frank, Len.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Charlie, we almost lost Frank in that horrible car crash. It was a miracle that he survived. He had to work really hard and dig really deep to come back from that.

I think we may never find a replacement as good as Frank.

Unknown said...

Frank was a caring and inspirational support for California Double Centuries but his caring went beyond the rides. He emailed me when he noticed I was not riding doubles in 2012. At the time I was devastated when numerous operations kept me from bike riding. I am grateful beyond words for his helping me recognize my accomplishments so far and turning my life around. He understood reinventing one’s life. Thank you Frank. You will always be special to me.

Unknown said...

I knew Frank since the middle 90’s. He and I rode some of the same doubles, and later we supported some of the same rides. He helped me a lot as I prepared to do PBP in 2003. He saved my Ride Around the Bear a few years ago when he had a replacement master link for me. After the fix was completed he looked me in the eye and said “now we’re even”. I had no clue what he was talking about. It seems several years earlier I loaned him an extra jacket I had. I had totally forgotten about that, but Frank remembered. He was a great guy to be around and really enjoyed helping riders. He had a really great time back in August when we did the tour of the USS Iowa. Frank’s dad was a Marine on Iwo Jima, so Frank was interested in all things World War II.

Frank my friend; see you on down the road. And from the USS Iowa tour, fair winds and following seas.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Mike, you are so right: Frank's caring went beyond the rides. He knew first hand from his crash and long recovery, how depressing it can be when we can no longer ride our bikes. He started helping the California Triple Crown as the Comeback Guy to showcase cyclists who were battling back from crashes and health problems. He continued to do this for many years ... and he was so amazed at how you reinvented your life as we all are.

Chuck Bramwell said...

That is a great story of how Frank remembered how you loaned him an extra jacket, Mark. Frank had an amazing memory. Thank you for sharing that fun photo of you and Frank on the USS Iowa. It looked like a good time and you made a good memory there.

Unknown said...

I met Frank shortly after I started riding doubles in 2005. He was there for all of us and was a great help as I honed my double skills. I got to know Frank better shortly after becoming an "active" volunteer. He was a big part of why I became active in the CTC and LA Wheelmen. I learned a great deal from Frank about how to organize and support Doubles.

He was a friend to all and will be missed by all.

Anonymous said...

I crewed with Frank on the 2011 RAAM race on Team Skipper. I quit after 4 days due to lack of support for the crew. If it had not been for laughing uproariously with Frank through two nights of getting lost and generally poor organization, I would have quit earlier. Frank was a pleasure to be with.
Frank was a fixture at the Marin Double Expo supporting the Triple Crown and encouraging safe riding habits for all.
I will miss him.

Tim Skipper said...

My memories of Frank...

Well, he crewed for my Team in 2011 RAAM. He was not selfish and had a positive attitude even when there were problems and difficulties, something that always occurs during RAAM.

Another memory is when I was during the second loop of the Hemet Double. Rode into the rest stop to see Frank's smiling face ;-)
We enjoyed talking for some time about his RAAM experience on my team. He told me that is was difficult but enjoyed the life experience.

Frank, ride on...

Tim Skipper

Chuck Bramwell said...

Tom Parkes wrote:

"Wow, Frank Neal has left us.

I’ve known Frank since my first California Triple Crown Double Century in 1995. In fact, I rode the Davis Double which was Frank’s Hall of Fame 50th double. My Davis DC bib number was 50 so I gave it to Frank as a memento of his accomplishment.

Frank should also be remembered for his advocacy for bicycle safety. I remember seeing Frank at several events where he had all his safety info. ready to hand out to all the passersby.

I'm sure Frank would want all of us to continue safely enjoying and supporting cycling. Frank has shown us how so let's keep making him proud of us."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Lynn Katano wrote:

"RIP Garfield - you were a great friend to so many of us and a huge part of the California Triple Crown."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Scot Castle wrote:

"I'm at a loss as to what to say. I've not known Frank for as long as many of you, but I've had the pleasure of working with him on rides up here in Northern California. Great guy and will be sorely missed by us up here.
First Lee, now Frank. We are running short on SAG's in this ride of life."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Isabelle Drake wrote:

"Frank was one person I was always looking for while riding doubles as he was always volunteering. If he saw me he would give me a hug and fill my bottles as fast as he could. We had many phone conversations about all things cycling. Frank worked tirelessly on the data entries and also promoted bike safety. I can't believe he is gone ..."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Clay Sharp wrote:

""Where's Frank" ... You will be missed Sir; thankful for all your assists in the cycling world!"

Chuck Bramwell said...

Bob Davidson wrote:

"Carol and I always enjoyed spending time chatting with Frank at OCW events. Such a giving guy! See ya up the road Frank....RIP."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Rick Burneson wrote:

"Wow, what a surprise. Such a tragic loss not only for CA Triple Crown but for SoCal cycling. Like Lee, Frank will be missed!"

Chuck Bramwell said...

Deborah Hoag wrote:

"Sorry to hear. Frank was part of our RAAM crew 2011, 8 tandem team."

Chuck Bramwell said...

M.J. Grove wrote:

"The Los Angeles Wheelmen will miss Frank at the Grand Tour. He was the one who stayed until the last Quadruple Century rider was checked in, often leaving as dawn was breaking. Mr. Reliable, BikeVan, and DataGuy, he leaves jobs it will take several people to fill. Goodbye from the LAW's DataGal."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Darrell Goodwin wrote:

"So sorry to hear this. Worked with him at Joshua Tree and saw him supporting us at other rides."

Chuck Bramwell said...

John Long wrote:

"Going miss you"

Lynne Billie wrote:

"I've got lots of good memories of Frank! He will be missed!"

Chuck Bramwell said...

Ken Emerson wrote:

"Oh no, what a great man he was and still is."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Steve Saeedi wrote:

"I'm very sorry to hear of Frank's passing."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Anna Stewart wrote:

"Oh no. I am so sorry to hear this."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Mike Deitchman wrote:

"So long and thanks for tirelessly supporting the CTC family Frank!"

Chuck Bramwell said...

Rick Schoephoerster wrote:

"So sorry to hear.
Prayers to family and friends."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Isabelle Drake wrote:

"I am shocked and so sad to hear this. Frank was an incredible cyclist, amazing crew person, and most important a great friend ..."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Bill Monsen wrote:

"This is very, very sad news. RIP, Frank."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Bill Becker wrote:

"He will be missed."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Al Ceron wrote:

"So sorry, he will be missed."

Chuck Bramwell said...

Lorie McCormick wrote:

"Such a kind hearted man, he will be missed. :( "

Anonymous said...

Adam Bramwell here - Chuck's son. As you all know, my Dad knows the majority of you crazy long distance ride riding folks in Southern California - and as a result, people are always approaching me to say hi. Not to slight anybody else, but as has been said above, Frank is a man who's kind and gentle spirit stood out amongst tons of people in bike attire. A truly kind a great man.

Jim Poppy said...

I only had the pleasure of Frank's company a few times, before or after events where he was volunteering. I immediately admired him for his gentle and kind manner, and his obvious love for cycling. He also helped me greatly when I was forced to retire from long distance cycling due to back and leg problems. It was a very difficult time for me and his calm words of wisdom have made a huge difference in my attitudes towards life. Thank you Frank.

Andrew May said...

I'll always remember Frank for taking the time on Hemet DC to show me the contents of his tool boxes. It inspired me to start carrying many additional spares to try to be a better SAG driver. I'll also remember the times we worked the water stops on Breathless together, and many other times.

Anonymous said...

He leaves a great set of footprints for all of us to follow! He will be missed.

Anon said...

I am saddened to hear of Franks passing. He was the personification of the Triple Crown spirit. A true inspiration.

Dave Clemes

Unknown said...

Everlasting Rides From Now On. RIP, Frank.

Unknown said...

I couldn't believe when I heard the news about Frank. The first time we met was at the Solvang Double. We were both volunteering and didn't know that we were sharing a room that weekend. I learned how much how Frank loved cycling that weekend through some very interesting conversation. Him and his passion will certainly be missed. RIP Frank.

Paul "trash nazi" Haussler said...

Holy cow... What a loss... Frank loved cycling, supporting cyclists, and making impossible rides, due to equipment failures, successful. I can only hope that shortly after his transition he was greeted by an heroic, bearded gentleman with "Give my van back!"

Paul Haussler

Unknown said...

I was lucky to hang out with Frank as I worked a Sag stop at the Heartbreak Dbl. He left an everlasting memory.

The long distance community has lost an icon but gained a legacy.

Tailwinds all day Frank!

eric m

Anonymous said...

As a relative newcomer to the double-century community (only 4 doubles in 2016--my first double-season), I got the opportunity to interact with Frank at many of the rest stops along the miles. I remember how proud he was of his hand-made custom roof-rack. His vehicle seemed to be everywhere along the routes. He was a kind, gentle, methodical, helpful, personable, inspirational, giving soul. I will miss seeing him smiling at the rest stops and hearing about his experiences along the way. His SAG support was tireless and always right-on-time.
As soon as I read about his passing, I felt a loss of air in my chest and a tear in my eye.
God bless those you've left behind Frank, as I'm sure you're waiting for them in heaven.
---Gabe Gonzalez, Ride With Javi DCT, San Diego, CA

Unknown said...

RIP Frank Neal,(The Triple-Crown Guy) We lost a good friend in the cycling community. In the twenty nine double centuries I have completed, I think Frank was at every one of them. He always had a smile and a few words of encouragement. Frank loved cycling and giving back to the community. He volunteered many years at San Dimas Stage Race, two years ago at the time trial he sat all day at the stop light and never saw the race. He told me if I wanted him to come back next year he wanted a better spot. I told him the next year he would be at the top of the time trial so this last year he was at the top all day. He thanked me at the end of the day and said it was the best day of racing every! Frank is one of these guys I look at and say When I grow up. I want to be like just like him. RIP my friend now you can ride forever!

Bruce Wessels said...

Rest in Peace, gentle spirited Frank. Seems that not only was he at every double I've done, but he also seemed to be at every rest stop as well. What an amazing example to everyone in the cycling community of giving back to the sport he truly loved.

Shawn Mehaffey said...

I saw Frank at several of the Marin Century / Mt. Tam DC rides working at his booth in the start / finish area. He never seemed to mind that it was a long drive for him to get there from his home. I am surprised to learn we lost him when he seemed to have many years ahead of him.

Unknown said...

SDSR starts tomorrow. Frank will be missed greatly as he always volunteered

Chuck Bramwell said...

Phil Auriemma wrote:

"The first few times I remember running into Frank were at the check-ins for the rides. He was behind a California Triple Crown table ready to answer questions. We would say hi to each other, but not much more.

Some time later Frank started driving support for the rides and we crossed each other's path much more often.

The last time I remember seeing Frank was at the 2016 Hemet Double. We were leap-frogging each other throughout the entire first loop. Not far into the second loop I got a flat. I was almmost done fixing it, and then Frank pulled up. We joked about finally catching each other. We joked some more about the floor pump Frank had with him; It was on its way out, but I insisted on using it rather than keeping the 'air' in the tire from the CO2 catridge. We commented to each other about a what we though must have been a wedding party in a horse drawn carriage. I think I got a coke from Frank, and then we said we would see each other down the road.

It was always good to see Frank."

Scott said...

I first met Frank when my right shifter suddenly broke at mile 76 on the Hemet Double Century. I tried on the fly fixes...nothing! I started calling bike shops...but was far from any real mechanical know-how --or much else at that point. I thought I might be able to finish this relatively flat century with just two gears -- big and small rings in the front, if I positioned the chain in a middle gear in the back...but then, magically, Frank drove up in his mobile bike repair shop and patiently worked out a fix: he jury rigged a bar-end shifter to replace my 'brifter' which still did work as a brake. That allowed me to shift into all but the lowest two gears -- plenty for Hemet's lack of steeps. All throughout the work, Frank regaled me with tales of Doubles past: people, places, events.... The only other time I got to meet Frank was when he was hard at work again, supporting the Grand Tour that I had volunteered to help with too, but for far fewer hours than did Frank.

I was moved by this small man with a huge heart and endless energy to help others enjoy the sport he loved.

Len said...

Frank reminded me of a trick I knew but had forgotten on a Fall Solvang ride. Tyvek envelopes: carry and use like a newspaper the pros stuff in their jerseys on a cold descent, or any chilly section, except you can quickly fold and stick in a pocket and use again as it won't be shredded like newsprint when it gets wet from sweat or ambient moisture.